This is a series of installments that Stella wrote starting May 2013, since we moved to a new Web Host and new Blog. Larry B felt it appropriate to re-post the series on our new Blog site. Perhaps We will get Stella to continue her story and maybe some other future articles from “The Line Dance Guru”
The story of the Line Dance Guru as you know her today but what she has never told about her life before she came to the U.S.A. and after she first arrived as a British tourist on holiday for a week.
I was born on a freezing cold night in Ashton-U-Lynne Lancashire in the North of England February 2nd 1953.I was the 3rd child born to parents Stella Ball and Charles Ball. Mum was a London Royal College of music teacher and Dad, a former Grenadier guard and personal Queens’s regiment to Queen Elizabeth when she was just a teenager. I was the first girl and soon to be followed by a third brother, so there were 4 of us for many years till my sisters came a long 8 years later 18 months between them, now there were 6 children, 3 boys, 3 girls.
To say our child hood was dysfunctional would be an understatement even by today’s standards, where it seems more and more children are raised in homes of abuse or just plain neglect. The difference was back then it was all kept quiet and swept under the rug. The neighbors ignored the screaming domestic abuse between my father and mother unless occasionally it became so disruptive they would make an anonymous call to police. Not many homes had phones in those day’s but we were fortunate the next door neighbor had a phone, and when the police arrived they would calm the situation and just leave, often with me clinging to the officers leg begging to be taken away with them. The law was such at that time that unless one or the other spouse was willing to file charges they could not arrest anyone.
My Mum had a great sense of humor, was utterly charming and men found her irresistible. My father super intelligent, who spoke many languages and possessed a vast knowledge through books but was a full-blown alcoholic and was addicted to codeine which you could buy over the counter. He was prone to violence when in on codeine and alcohol to my mother and older brother Charles in particular.
During the Month, there was times where we had no money, no food, no coal for the no hot water, and no hot water but Sober parents as they could not afford to drink or go to pubs. These were hard times but actually happier times for the 6 children because the abusive situations were not as frequent. I became the mother figure to my baby sisters at age 11. I took care of them and my younger brother as he was very small and suffered a lot with nightmares and fear of being in the dark. I did everything possible to shield them from what my older brothers and I had endured and thank god mum and dad finally separated when I just turned 12.
As in any divorce there was a custody fight and I bounced back and forth from mum to dads. I kept running away from mum to seek refuge with dad, at the time least of two evils. Then one day Welfare Officers took me away in a big fancy car as I was leaving church with the school choir I sang in. I was taken back to mum as she had just been given legal custody of me after the newspaper reported us living in unfit conditions in the house with dad. There was a big article in the paper and my mum’s side of the family, who were well to do in the town and well-known business people and property owners were quite embarrassed by it all. Yet as affluent as they were, they were unwilling or unable to adopt 6 kids at the time.
I was taken back to Mum to live years of trying to be a teenager, trying not to be abused, trying to look after my sisters. Finally on my baby sisters 18th birthday, I boarded a plane to New York City, little did I know how this trip was about just to change my life. I was about to be born again and start a new life. Next week I will explore how music and dancing helped during those child hood years to keep my sanity and my zest for life and love of people. And more on how what I thought was a short trip to the States became a new and wonderful life.